Archive for April 1st, 2009


Hollywood to Redux 1971

“Fiddler on the Roof.” “Billy Jack.” “Dirty Harry.” “A Clockwork Orange.” “The Last Picture Show.” Even “The Million Dollar Duck.” This can only mean one thing:

Hollywood is remaking 1971. The entire year.

Close sources have revealed that the Studio heads for Warner Bros., Fox, Universal, Sony, and Lionsgate, had a midnight meeting and discussed the possibility of remaking one entire year of movies; specifically 1971. According to an anonymous insider, “We were asked to write down our favorite films, or at least ones we wanted to see remade. The majority of those movies came from 1971. Then one thing leads to another and they’re carving up slices of the 1971 pie.”

In a society where cinematic remakes, reboots, and re-ignites have became status quo, we have to wonder if maybe this is a bit too much. With the recent remakes of “Friday the 13th,” and “The Last House on the Left,” horror has proved that remaking the genre itself can be profitable. However, how would a remake of the classic “The French Connection” do? Would “Dirty Harry” or “Billy Jack” still be relevant?

“It’s not a matter of relevancy,” says Roman Weinandeinme, Professor of Film at Columbia University School of the Arts New York. “The culture itself has backlogged twenty years. It’s like we’re living in a muddled fax copy of the Eighties. That aside, humans have this attachment to their youth. They want their kids or nieces or nephews to enjoy, to grow up on, what they watched when they were younger. As for delving back to the early Seventies, I have no answer on that. But we’re living in post-modern times. Cinema redux has now become a way of life, at least for the Studios.”

There are others who are proponents of Studio Remaking. Arthur Proyas, an avid entertainment blogger, had this to say: “Why is everybody soooooooo uptight when it comes to movie remakes? I mean, c’mon! We got better special effects! Better actors! Better directors! Better action sequences! It’d be awesome if Michael Bay remade something like… ‘Dirty Harry’ or ‘French Connection.’ I mean, why do all these film critics and failed film students have to cry because something they love is being remade? I’ve made it a policy not to even bother watching the original.”

But the real reason may be the money. According to current statistics the Writer’s Guild of America registers at least forty-thousand scripts a year. With even a portion of those being submitted to producers, it may be that they have no time for “original works.” It’s easier to rent a movie and say, “That needs to be remade!” and pay on the royalties than incorporating new writers into the Hollywood system.

Independent filmmakers echo the sentiment of these hard times for cinema. “When you go to pitch an idea, they want it all: the script, how much it will cost, how much it will make, and all ‘stars’ that are attached to it. With the current depression it’s even worse. The execs are going to Blockbuster video, picking up a movie and taking it home, then deciding if they wanna have it re-done. They already own the rights so it’s just a matter of getting new writers and a new director. Then: viola! Crap.”

Either way names are being tossed around and all the titles are up for grabs. Recent rumors include: Harvey Keitel in “Dirty Harry,” Keifer Sutherland playing the role his dad made famous in “Klute,” Shia LeBeouf in “A Clockwork Orange,” and even a re-igniting of “Shaft” with Terrence Howard. No word on directors attached to any of the projects.

Of the Studios who would make the most from this midnight agreement: Warner Bros. With last year’s failure of “Speed Racer,” which earned $50 mil against its reported cost of $120 million, the Warners need a hit. In 1971 the WB released four movies to hit the box office Top Ten: “Billy Jack,” “Summer of ’42,” “Dirty Harry,” and “A Clockwork Orange.” With any luck, next year will be their year again.